Lawrie McMenemy believes England have paid the price for picking an inexperienced defence in Brazil.
England's World Cup hopes are over after Costa Rica's surprise defeat of Italy last night condemed them to a first group stage exit since 1958.
And Saints’ 1976 FA Cup winning boss has been saying since Roy Hodgson named his England squad that a lack of experience at the back may cost his side.
He feels his views have been fully justified after the Three Lions lost both of their opening group games thanks in part to a creaky defence.
Roy Hodgson's side impressed but ultimately fell short in their opening match against Italy, before Luis Suarez inspired Uruguay to victory in Sao Paulo on Thursday evening.
It left the Three Lions needing Italy to win their final two Group D matches, while hoping they themselves ended up with a better goal difference than Uruguay and Costa Rica.
However, England will now head to Belo Horizonte next Tuesday for their final match against Los Ticos with their fate sealed after the Azzurri fell to a shock defeat in Recife.
Bryan Ruiz’s first-half header earned Costa Rica a 1-0 win and saw them through the last 16 Writing in his exclusive Daily Echo column in today’s paper, McMenemy said: “When you have so many young players in the squad it is refreshing, but as I pointed out when the squad was announced there is a lack of experience in defence, bearing in mind that Rio Ferdinand, John Terry and Ashley Cole were all missing.
“Whilst I am as big a supporter of Luke Shaw as anyone, I think I mentioned it would be better to take the experience of Cole and promise Luke that he would be the future, for arguably five to ten years.
“Recently the FA chairman Greg Dyke apparently said to Roy Hodgson he was happy to try and persuade John Terry to overcome his grievance with the FA which had made him announce he was no longer wanting to be selected, but Roy, if we believe the story, turned down the opportunity.
“I think on reflection after the defeat against Uruguay, John Terry and Ashley Cole would have undoubtedly added strength and experience to the back four.”